The Obama administration's out-of-focus approach to Syrian war crimes reflects its similarly misguided response to mass killings within the United States.
The president concentrates on weapons used to do evil, rather than the criminals who perpetrate the butchery. Even if the Assad regime renounces chemical weapons and promises to destroy them, then that would make the dictator only marginally less dangerous. After all, the great majority of his 100,000 recent victims died through deployment of conventional weapons.
Similarly, new rules to control so-called assault rifles in American cities will do little to curb the bloodshed; thugs bent on murder will find other ways to slaughter innocents, in Chicago as well as Damascus. The right approach for foreign policy as well as domestic crime-fighting means focusing on criminals, not their tools.